Netherlands: SNS REAAL launches Impact Investing
Utrecht, Netherlands, January, 03 2011 -
SNS REAAL, the Dutch bancassurance company, today announced that SNS Asset Management, its institutional asset manager, has transferred its microfinance and related impact investment activities to a new unit, SNS Impact Investing.
The unit is managed by Theo Brouwers and Harry Hummels, who jointly held the position of Marketing & Sales Director at SNS Asset Management until 1 January this year.
SNS Impact Investing invests in social development, which includes investments in microfinance, in water - e.g. aimed at improving human hygiene - and responsible agriculture in developing countries. Other activities related to basic human needs and development will be made available for investment in the near future as well. Although the focus will mainly be on developing economies - from Southeast Asia to South America and everything in between - investments in more developed economies are not ruled out.
The unit was set up specifically for institutional investors, trusts and high net worth individuals. Harry Hummels, who is also a Professor at Maastricht University, says: “We saw in the past year that the market is in want of a professional service provider specialising in impact investments. We believe that SNS Impact Investing, with its full focus on offering quality investment opportunities that provide high financial and social returns, meets this growing need.” The financial results will be in line with broad market returns and with the expectations of professional investors. Moreover, achieving pre-determined social objectives is a conditio sine qua non.
SNS Impact Investing’s microfinance practice is already thriving. The volume of institutional investments in microfinance institutions managed by the two SNS Institutional Microfinance Funds totals some € 300 million. Theo Brouwers anticipates room for launching new funds in the future: “We are always looking for new investment opportunities that add value for our investors: financial as well as social value, that is. For us, the need to add value is reinforced day after day. One thing is absolutely clear: even the poorest entrepreneurs need permanent access to financial markets at acceptable terms and conditions.”
In addition providing financial products and services, SNS Impact Investing will play an active role in the public debate on impact investing. For example, SNS II is now an active member of the Global Impact Investing Network and the Netherlands Platform for Microfinance. SNS II will also seek to cooperate with centres of expertise in areas that are relevant to the unit; one such partnership is with Maastricht University’s European Centre for Corporate Engagement.